Al-Quran Surah 4. An-Nisaa, Ayah 3

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وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تُقْسِطُوا فِي الْيَتَامَىٰ فَانْكِحُوا مَا طَابَ لَكُمْ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ مَثْنَىٰ وَثُلَاثَ وَرُبَاعَ ۖ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا فَوَاحِدَةً أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَلَّا تَعُولُوا


Asad : And if you have reason to fear that you might not act equitably towards orphans, then marry from among [other] women such as are lawful to you3 - [even] two, or three, or four: but if you have reason to fear that you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then [only] one - or [from among] those whom you rightfully possess.4 This will make it more likely that you will not deviate from the right course.
Khattab :

If you fear you might fail to give orphan women their ˹due˺ rights ˹if you were to marry them˺, then marry other women of your choice—two, three, or four. But if you are afraid you will fail to maintain justice, then ˹content yourselves with˺ one1 or those ˹bondwomen˺ in your possession.2 This way you are less likely to commit injustice.

Malik : If you fear that you shall not be able to treat the orphans with fairness, then you should not marry the women with orphan children; marry other women of your choice: two, three or four. But if you fear that you will not be able to maintain justice between your wives, then marry only one or any slave girl you may own. That will be more suitable , so that you may not deviate from the Right Way.
Pickthall : And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess. Thus it is more likely that ye will not do injustice.
Yusuf Ali : If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans marry women of your choice two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them) then only one or (a captive) that your right hands possess. That will be more suitable to prevent you from doing injustice. 508 539
Transliteration : Wain khiftum alla tuqsitoo fee alyatama fainkihoo ma taba lakum mina alnnisai mathna wathulatha warubaAAa fain khiftum alla taAAdiloo fawahidatan aw ma malakat aymanukum thalika adna alla taAAooloo
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Asad   
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Asad 3 Lit., "such as are good for you" - i.e., women outside the prohibited degrees enumerated in verses {22-23} of this surah (Zamakhshari, Razi). According to an interpretation suggested by 'A'ishah, the Prophet's widow, this refers to the (hypothetical) case of orphan girls whom their guardians might wish to marry without, however, being prepared or able to give them an appropriate marriage-portion - the implication being that they should avoid the temptation of committing such an injustice and should marry other women instead (cf. Bukhari, Kitab at-Tafsir, as well as Muslim and Nasa'i). However, not all of 'A'ishah's contemporaries subscribed to her explanation of this verse. Thus, according to Sa'id ibn Jubayr, Qatadah, and other successors of the Companions, the purport of the above passage is this: "Just as you are, rightly, fearful of offending against the interests of orphans, you must apply the same careful consideration to the interests and rights of the women whom you intend to marry." In his commentary on this passage, Tabari quotes several variants of the above interpretation and gives it his unequivocal approval.
Asad   
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Asad 4 Lit., "whom your right hands possess" - i.e., from among the captives taken in a war in God's cause (regarding which see surah {2}, notes [167] and [168], and surah {8}, note [72]). It is obvious that the phrase "two, or three, or four: but if you have reason to fear...", etc. is a parenthetic clause relating to both the free women mentioned in the first part of the sentence and to female slaves - for both these nouns are governed by the imperative verb "marry". Thus, the whole sentence has this meaning: "Marry from among [other] women such as are lawful to you, or [from among] those whom you rightfully possess - [even] two, or three, or four: but if you have reason to fear that you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then [only] one" - implying that, irrespective of whether they are free women or, originally, slaves, the number of wives must not exceed four. It was in this sense that Muhammad 'Abduh understood the above verse (see Manar IV, 350). This view is, moreover, supported by verse {25} of this surah as well as by 24:32, where marriage with female slaves is spoken of. Contrary to the popular view and the practice of many Muslims in the past centuries, neither the Qur'an nor the life-example of the Prophet provides any sanction for sexual intercourse without marriage. As regards the permission to marry more than one wife (up to the maximum of four), it is so restricted by the condition, "if you have reason to fear that you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then [marry only] one", as to make such plural marriages possible only in quite exceptional cases and under exceptional circumstances (see also the first clause of 24:32 and the corresponding note [42]). Still, one might ask why the same latitude has not been given to women as well; but the answer is simple. Notwithstanding the spiritual factor of love which influences the relations between man and woman, the determinant biological reason for the sexual urge is, in both sexes, procreation: and whereas a woman can, at one time, conceive a child from one man only and has to carry it for nine months before she can conceive another, a man can beget a child every time he cohabits with a woman. Thus, while nature would have been merely wasteful if it had produced a polygamous instinct in woman, man's polygamous inclination is biologically justified. It is, of course, obvious that the biological factor is only one - and by no means always the most important - of the aspects of marital love: none the less, it is a basic factor and, therefore, decisive in the institution of marriage as such. With the wisdom that always takes human nature fully into account, Islamic Law undertakes no more than the safeguarding of the socio-biological function of marriage (which includes also care of the progeny), allowing a man to have more than one wife and not allowing a woman to have more than one husband at one time; while the spiritual problem of marriage, being imponderable and therefore outside the scope of law, is left to the discretion of the partners. In any event - since marriage in Islam is a purely civil contract - recourse to divorce is always open to either of the two partners. (Regarding the dissolution of a marriage at the wife's instance, see surah {2}, note [218].)

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Yusuf Ali   
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Yusuf Ali 508 Notice the conditional clause about orphans, introducing the rules about marriage. This reminds us of the immediate occasion of the promulgation of this verse. It was after Uhud, when the Muslim community was left with many orphans and widows and some captives of war. Their treatment was to be governed by principles of the greatest humanity and equity. The occasion is past, but the principles remain. Marry the orphans if you are quite sure that you will in that way protect their interests and their property, with perfect justice to them and to your own dependents if you have any. If not, make other arrangements for the orphans.
Yusuf Ali   
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Yusuf Ali 539 As the woman in marriage surrenders her person, so the man also must surrender at least some of his property according to his means. And this gives rise to the law of Dower. A minimum dower is prescribed, but it is not necessary to stick to the minimum, and in the new relationship created, the parties are recommended to act towards each other with the greatest confidence and liberality.
   
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28998

 The Quran is the only scripture that says marry only one. Unlike any previous faith, Islam puts a limit on the number of wives a man can have. Under certain circumstances, a Muslim man may marry up to four wives as long as he is able to provide for them and maintain justice among them—otherwise it is unlawful. With the exception of Jesus Christ and John the Baptist (neither of whom were married), almost all religious figures in the Bible had more than one wife. According to the Bible, Solomon (ﷺ) had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3) and his father, David (ﷺ), had many wives and concubines (2 Samuel 5:13).

   
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28999

 A bondwoman is a female slave that a man owned either through purchase or taking her captive in war—a common ancient practice in many parts of the world. Islam opened the door for ending slavery by making it an act of charity to free slaves. Many sins (such as breaking one’s oath, unintentional killing, and intercourse with one’s wife during the day of fasting in Ramaḍân) can be atoned by freeing a slave. According to Islamic teachings, no free person can be enslaved. Islam also improved the condition of slaves. It was unlawful to separate a mother from her child. Children born to a slave-master were deemed free, and their mother would gain her freedom upon the death of her master. With regards to slaves, Prophet Muḥammad (ﷺ) says, “Feed them from what you eat, clothe them from what you wear, and do not overwhelm them with work unless you assist them.” He (ﷺ) also says, “Whoever kills his slave will be killed and whoever injures his slave will be injured.” In recent times, slavery has been outlawed in all countries—including the Muslim world.

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